Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
The iTunes/iPod strategy has a significant flaw
Published on January 11, 2004 By Draginol In Gadgets & Electronics

There is a chink in the mighty iTunes armor. Those of you who follow this blog know that I've been a strong proponent for Apple's iTunes. But today I discovered something I wasn't aware of before: iTunes will not burn MP3 CDs with commercially downloaded music.

Why is that a big deal? The other players probably don't do that either right? (actually I'm pretty sure that Windows Media Player does but I could be wrong). The reason it's a big deal is that if I want to make an MP3 CD for listening to in the house on our stereo (which plays MP3 CDs), I have to burn them to regular music CDs, then burn them back as MP3s.

Which gets to the economic harm part for Apple: I was about to buy an iPod.  In fact, I went to Best Buy today and they were out of them. I was going to get the iPod because I've so "standardized" on iTunes for buying my music that I figured it would be less hassle to just get the iPod and use my commercially bought music that way.

 

But the iPod for iTunes advantage evaporates for me once I'm stuck having to make audio CD archives of all my music.  Because at that point, I can use any portable audio device to play those. And at that point, that puts the iPod having to compete on the same ground as the other portable devices and sorry to say, the iPod carries quite a premium price when in fact many other portable players now are just as good and cost less.

iTunes may have been designed to be a great way to sell more iPods for Apple, but its inability to create the increasingly popular MP3 CDs takes away a big advantage for a lot of people.  And it's foolish as well. It doesn't stop piracy. If I wanted to pirate these songs I still could by burning the plain audio CD (which I'll now have to do so that I can rip them from CD to turn into unprotected songs so that I can make an MP3 CD to play on our stereo).  Sigh.

 


Comments (Page 1)
on Jan 11, 2004
Why do you need to burn mp3 CDs if you're going to buy an iPod? Just connect the iPod to your stereo or car stereo. For me, the iPod eliminates the need for mp3 CDs.
on Jan 11, 2004
I don't want to have to hook up the iPod to do that. Secondly, not everything takes inputs. My boom box, which is new, doesn't have external inputs. Similarly, in my car, I don't want to have to hook the iPod up to it (heck, I'm not even sure how I'd do that without it being some sort of hack).
on Jan 11, 2004
You could use a CD-RW to burn regular music CDs from iTunes files, then rip the audio off of the CD-RW and make MP3 files. This method can be time consuming but it is the only work around I can think of where you won't have to use a bunch of CD-Rs and you won't have to do any kind of hacking.
on Jan 12, 2004
Can't you recover your MP3 not using I-tunes but your OS explorer in the library part of I-tunes ? Then you'll just have to burn it using any bruning software (ie. Nero).
on Jan 12, 2004
iTunes files are not MP3 format. Because of the DRM, the way to convert them to MP3 is to first use the iTunes software to burn a regular music CD (use CD-RW if you don't want to use up CD-Rs since CD-RW can be erased and reused), then rip the Wav files off of the CD, and then convert them to MP3s.
on Jan 12, 2004
Well, the big deal is that Apple isn't allowing this because Apple can't. When you buy songs off iTunes, you're getting copyprotected AAC files. The licencing is very lax compared to other online music sellers - unlimited playback, unlimited burns as Audio CDs, plus copies of the song on three different iTunes enabled computers.

But converting to mp3 nulls the copy protection, which means that anyone can share the song they just bought via Kazaa or whatnot. The music industry will not let Apple include this feature.

And Apple wouldn't want to anyway - iTunes exists to sell iPods - they make practically nothing off the Music Store, and they don't intend to. I don't think this is a significant flaw at all - it helps sell iPods by discouraging the use of MP3 CDs and encourage the use of iPods. I think mp3 CDs are going to be a passing fad just like flash mp3 players (I use mp3 CDs, but only because I haven't bought an iPod yet).
on Jan 12, 2004
Can you not just use a normal cd burning app to burn your MP3's to CD.
As for the price of the Ipod your right, why get a BMW when a Fiat will get you from A to B.
on Jan 12, 2004
There are tape type adapters which go in any tape deck or better still get an iTrip which will transmit what is playing on your iPod to any FM radio in about 50m.

I am sure iTunes can also convert AAC to MP3, if not im sure there are programs which will.
on Jan 12, 2004
I don't think iTunes can convert but I think Napster 2.0, WMP, and etc. can...
on Jan 12, 2004
You could use a CD-RW to burn regular music CDs from iTunes files, then rip the audio off of the CD-RW and make MP3 files. This method can be time consuming but it is the only work around I can think of where you won't have to use a bunch of CD-Rs and you won't have to do any kind of hacking.


TechCat: Did you read the article fully? That's exactly what I am doing. But once I have to go through that hassle then there's not that much advantage to an iPod over say an iRiver or whatever. I was going to get the iPod because of how easy it worked with with iTunes. But if I have to convert my songs to MP3s anyway via the clunky burn to audio CDs method then any MP3 player will do the trick.
on Jan 12, 2004
Brad - I fail to see how using any other mp3 player will be any different - you can't commercially download music as *mp3s* from anywhere. Online music stores offer copyprotected wmas and copyprotected aacs, neither one of which can be easily converted to mp3 format.

Oh, and instead of the clunky burn to cd and then rip method, I suggest using something like Total Recorder to just record the audio output into an mp3.
on Jan 12, 2004
I read the article. It talks about burning CDs. From your words I cannot tell if you are burning a bunch of CD-Rs or if you are using the CD-RW method that I mentioned.
on Jan 12, 2004
I'd wait to pickup an iPod and get HP's model that they'll be releasing soon. It can play WMA files and ACC files so your getting the best of both worlds. As to converting to mp3, wasn't there a hack released by the guy who hacked the dvd encryption that breaks the ACC encryption? Might be something to look into.
on Jan 12, 2004
Would using such a hack be legal though?
on Jan 12, 2004
Sorry....last post from tealart was me. For some reason it didn't save my name. Anyways, well Im sure the hack will be taken to court but considering its the same guy that got around the CSS encryption in DVDs and won, despite numerous appeals...I'm fairly sure he'd win that too.
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